Key 4 With Repentance Must Come Obedience
All 4 chapters of Jonah paints this picture of how we are to process our sin or disobedience before God.
- Jonah 1-2 Acknowledge our sin
- Jonah 2 Accept Gods Discipline
- Jonah 2 Repent
- Jonah 3 Act on Gods direction
Whenever we are in a situation where we have turned our back on God its important to follow these four steps. Only true repentance can happen when we acknowledge and are willing to go in Gods direction.
Repentance And Deliverance Of
- Jonah 2 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. …
- Matthew 12:40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Choosing The Path Of Change Over Convenience
When we choose the path of convenience rather than the path of change, our capacity to love is stunted, and our faith withers. God allows us to go through challenges in life because its only through these that we can develop a deep reliance on God.
It reminds me of a quote by author and fitness expert Fred DeVito in regard to how challenge is necessary for any real change to occur:
If it doesnt challenge you, it doesnt change you.
What we may view as a loathsome challenge, God views as the opportunity and only pathway for real change.
This is especially true when it comes to challenging relationships, through which we can learn to deeply love others if we embrace the opportunity to learn from and rely on God through the Scriptures.
What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Dont even the tax collectors do that? 47 How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Dont even the ungodly do that?
Matthew 5:46-47 TPT
In the face of the challenge to love those he considered enemies, Jonah bought a one-way ticket to Tarshish. While on the voyage, he took a nap in an effort to ignore the fact that he was running away from God and his challenge to love.
Meanwhile, the crew of the boat encountered a serious storm sent by God to get Jonahs attention and awaken his heart. The sailors began questioning him:
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 NKJV
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Key 1 God Has No Problem Removing You From Your Comfort Zone
Jonah 1:1-2 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.
Jonah was comfortable.
He was a prophet in a nation he is proud of. Then all of sudden God decided to come between Jonah and his patriotism. He asked him to go somewhere Jonah would NEVER want to go.
And Jonah has good earthly reasons why, but God looks beyond the earthly and looks through His spiritual eyes.
God will move you out of a place of comfort to see a greater level of breakthrough for yourself and for others. For Jonah a whole city was ready to repent, but for that to happen he would have to leave his comfort zone.
Sometimes God will ask us to step out or step up. Its not always easy or fun, but at the end of it, there is a beautiful reward.
Its like what my pastor says, Earthly obedience, brings forth spiritual release.
What Is The Sign Of Jonah
Much later in the Bible, Jesus told His skeptics, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth .
Jesus said that this sign of Jonah would be the proof of His identity as the Messiah. Jonah had spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish Jesus would spend three days and three nights in the grave .
Some scholars doubt the authenticity of the biblical narrative of the book of Jonah. By acknowledging the sign of Jonah, Jesus was also acknowledging the authenticity of the book of Jonah. He even referred to Himself as One greater than Jonah an odd comparison to make if Jonah had never existed at all.
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The Punishment Of Hell
An intriguing passage in the book of Jonah illustrates a vital point about the punishment of the wicked after death.
In graphically poetic language, the agonizing prophet described his horrible ordeal in the sea monsters belly as an experience akin to being in hell. He exclaims:
I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord . . . out of the belly of hell cried I .
The Hebrew term is Sheol. Here it denotes the abode of the wicked prior to the Judgement.
Since crying out by reason of affliction certainly indicates conscious suffering, one may conclude that the state of the wicked dead is that of conscious tormenta truth affirmed elsewhere in the sacred record .
J.W. McGarvey has an excellent discussion of this point in his essay, Destiny of the Wicked .
King James Bible Dictionary
A dove, the son of Amittai of Gath-hepher. He was a prophet of Israel, and predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries of the kingdom. He exercised his ministry very early in the reign of Jeroboam II., and thus was contemporary with Hosea and Amos or possibly he preceded them, and consequently may have been the very oldest of all the prophets whose writings we possess. His personal history is mainly to be gathered from the book which bears his name. It is chiefly interesting from the two-fold character in which he appears, as a missionary to heathen Nineveh, and as a type of the “Son of man.”
or Jonas, a dove he that oppresses destroyer
This book professes to give an account of what actually took place in the experience of the prophet. Some critics have sought to interpret the book as a parable or allegory, and not as a history. They have done so for various reasons. Thus some reject it on the ground that the miraculous element enters so largely into it, and that it is not prophetical but narrative in its form others, denying the possibility of miracles altogether, hold that therefore it cannot be true history.
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Jonah The Misunderstood Prophet
If I were to ask you what Old Testament prophet is known as the disobedient prophet or the prophet with a bad attitude, many would instantly reply that the prophet was Jonah. Jonah was unquestionably disobedient to Gods initial command to go to Nineveh, and the book of Jonah does end with Jonah in a deep funk regarding the outcome of his prophetic mission.
What would you answer if I asked you this question: What Old Testament prophet did Jesus Christ personally choose to equate himself to in his role as the Messiah? The answer to this question is also the prophet Jonah. In Matthew 12:38-41, 16:4 and Luke 11:29-32, Jesus Christ personally likened himself to the prophet Jonah. Jesus specifically said that even as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whales belly, so would he be in the heart of the earth for that same period of time.
Why did Jesus Christ compare himself so closely to a disobedient prophet? This article will make the case that there is a lot more to the story of Jonah than Christians have generally realized. Here is, as Paul Harvey would have said, the rest of the story.
I have also noted in my other writings that ships of Tarshish may have been a classification of large, ancient sailing ships or that it may have been a fleet staffed with people from the Benjaminite clan of Tharshish , so other explanations are also possible.
Brought Ninevites To Repentance
- Jonah 3 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. …
- Matthew 12:41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
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What Is The Outline Of The Book Of Jonah
Outline of the Book of Jonah Jonah doesnt like his duty, so he tries to flee from God on a ship Jonah 1:1-14. To calm a storm, the crew throws Jonah into the sea, where he is swallowed by a great fish God provided Jonah 1:15-16. In the belly of the fish for three days, Jonah cries out to God, repents, and swears to carry out his mission.
Key 5 We Must Learn To See The Bigger Picture & Have A Soft Heart
In chapter 4 of Jonah, we see a man who is angry, because God decided to have mercy. We all have our opinions, and ideas about how things should happen or be.
But those things need to bow down to Gods ways. We must realize we dont see it all, we dont understand it all. We must keep our hearts soft lest anger and bitterness come in.
Its easy to be triggered when things dont go the way we plan, but we need to surrender our will to His will.
I hope these 5 keys have made you hungry to dive more into Gods word. There are treasures to be learned and applied in every chapter. These are only 5 thingsthere are more!
If you want to learn more about Jonahcheck out Priscilla Shirer Jonah Bible Study. Im sure it will bless you like it has blessed me
Let me leave you with this quote..
Jonah did not weep over the city, but Jesus, the true prophet, did. . . . Here is a perfect heartperfect in generous lovenot excusing, not harshly condemning. He is the weeping God of Jonah 4 in human form. . . . Jesus did not merely weep for us he died for us. Jonah went outside the city, hoping to witness its condemnation, but Jesus Christ went outside the city to die on a cross to accomplish its salvation.
Tim Keller The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of Gods Mercy
I would love to hear from you! So, please feel free to drop me a comment or take a look at my similar posts in my Christian Faith Articles page! And dont forget to download the Jonah Character Overview PDF!
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What Is The Historical Context Of The Book Of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book of the Neviim in the Hebrew Bible. It tells of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah son of Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission. The story has a long interpretive history and has become well known through popular childrens stories. In Judaism, it is the Haftarah portion read during the afternoon of Yom Kippur to instill reflection on Gods willingness to forgive those who repent it remains a popular story
Jonah Disobeys God And Flees
Instead of going northeast toward Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship and headed in a westerly direction to Tarshish , but was overtaken by a severe storm.
Why did Jonah disregard Gods command? God was telling Jonah to take a message of repentance to an empire destined to destroy his own nation and people. Jonah knew what the Assyrians were capable of doing. If they listened to Gods warningif they repentedthen God might spare them, and they would remain a looming threat.
Jonah wanted to see Nineveh destroyed. Out of patriotic zeal for his nation Israel, he fled in the opposite direction. He shuddered to consider the implications if Nineveh actually responded to his message: prolonging the life of a brutal, ruthless and bloodthirsty nation threatening the existence of Gods people.
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Jonah Preaches To Nineveh
Making his way to Nineveh, a journey that would have taken more than a month and thus provided ample time for sober reflection, Jonah entered the great city with his blunt message :
Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Amazingly, there was mass repentance, from the king down to the commoner.
Jonah was quite distraught at this turn of events and he despaired, even to the point of wanting to die. Resolutely, he perched himself on a hilltop nearby, eagerly watching the city in hopes that the Lord would yet destroy it. His education was still incomplete!
As he sat in the scorching sun, God caused a shady vine to grow up for his refreshment and the prophet was glad. On the following day, however, Jehovah sent a worm to smite Jonahs vine, and as the blistering sun beat upon his head, the man of God again lapsed into a state of abject depression.
Then came Heavens stinging rebuke. The Lord in effect said: Jonah, why is it that you are so concerned with this vinea mere plant which is temporal, and for which you did not labor and yet, you evidence utterly no concern for the hapless inhabitants of Nineveh?
The penetrating inquiry threw a divine floodlight upon the pathetic values of the man from Gath-hepher.
Who Is Jonah In The Bible
Jonah is identified as a prophet and servant of God during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel between 792 and 753 B.C. . The name Jonah means dove. His commission, as recorded in the book of Jonah , was to convey a message from God to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.
The book of Jonah gives no indication of his prophetic activity in the land of Israel. It merely begins with an instruction from God to go to Nineveh and prophesy to its inhabitants. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it for their wickedness has come up before Me .
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Jonah And The Gourd Vine
The Book of Jonah closes abruptly with an epistolary warning based on the emblematic trope of a fast-growing vine present in Persian narratives, and popularized in fables such as The Gourd and the Palm-tree during the Renaissance, for example by Andrea Alciato.
St. Jerome differed with St. Augustine in his Latin translation of the plant known in Hebrew as , using hedera over the more common Latin cucurbita, “gourd,” from which the English word gourd is derived. The Renaissance humanist artist Albrecht Dürer memorialized Jerome’s decision to use an analogical type of Christ’s “I am the Vine, you are the branches” in his woodcut Saint Jerome in His Study.
We Mistake Recognition For Mass Conversion
Everyone got a second chance here: Jonah as the legalistic, judgmental Jew the pagans as lost men and women. We want the story of Jonah to be one of the sailors and Ninevites not only recognizing God but also turning to him as their Lord. Some of the language even suggests as much.
The king of Nineveh arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Next, the king called for a fast and decreed let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Then, God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish .
The sailors called out to the Lord, they believed in him, but there is no indication that they put their trust in him as the one true God. Meanwhile, in his explanation of Jonah, Tim Keller says we tend to think that the Ninevites repentance was a mass conversion. Yet, all that Scripture tells us is that they stopped doing violence to each other they stopped exploiting, abusing, and killing each other.
This amounted not to repentance and conversion but to social reform, which pleased God enough to spare the city. This confusion is understandable given the kings decree yet, as Keller indicates, becoming the people of God would also have involved circumcision and putting away idols.
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What Can We Learn From Jonah
Jonah sends a vivid message to us of the futility of running from God. For Jonah, there was nowhere to hide from the omnipresent Almighty. There are those who try all their lives to escape God, but, like Jonah, they must finally acknowledge that He whom they try to escape is their only hope for a truly worthwhile and fulfilling existence.